Saturday, 13 August 2016

Tennyson Down and The Needles

On Wednesday, Jayne and I spent a good few hours walking around Tennyson Down and The Needles, on the far west of the Island. The weather was kind, and we enjoyed some great views, along with some new insects, flowers and a "year tick"; a Dartford Warbler.

We started our walk in the High Down Chalk Pit car park, an old quarry. There were plenty of buddleia bushes here, so we had a quick scan, picking up a number of butterflies; 2 Dark Green Fritillaries, 2 Red Admirals, 1 very tatty Ringlet and  3 Painted Ladies (our first of the year). We also had a male Migrant Hawker, and 2 Peregrine Falcons (1 adult and a juvenile bird).

Painted Lady

We walked up from the car park ( a very steep walk!!), to the monument on the top of Tennyson Down, and walked the 2 miles to The Needles. Along the way we spotted dozens of Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns  and Chalkhill Blues, along with another Red Admiral and another Painted Lady. Bird wise we saw a male Stonechat, with at least 3 juveniles, 3 migrating Wheatear, a hunting Kestrel,  Herring and Great Black-backed Gull, and, best of all, a Dartford Warbler.

When we arrived at The Needles, we spent some time looking around the Old and New Battery, and also enjoyed watching a pair of Ravens flying around, and then sat on the floor, and perched on a telephone mast!

The Needles

The last thing I wanted to mention was a type of flower called Yellow Wort. This is a chalk loving species, and was quite  common all along the chalky downs. It's a new plant for me, and I like the way the leaves wrap around the stalk. Unfortunately, the petals close up unless there's full sun, so my photo isn't great, but it was nice to see, nonetheless.

Yellow Wort

Year List update:
165 - Dartford Warbler

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